Over 50 leaders from the European Union (EU), Latin America, and the Caribbean are preparing to convene for their first summit in eight years, with the aim of strengthening economic partnerships between the two regions. However, discussions regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s involvement in the slave trade may complicate the talks.
The significance of this meeting cannot be understated, as it marks an important step towards developing stronger ties between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The EU is seeking a joint declaration condemning Russia’s actions, but faces challenges due to differing opinions among CELAC countries.
Furthermore, the EU is striving to decrease its reliance on Russia for gas and China for trade, and is instead looking to build alliances with “reliable partners” in Latin America. Regular EU-CELAC summits can potentially provide a counter-balance to China’s growing influence in the region.
Notably, some leaders from CELAC countries, including El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, are not expected to attend the talks. However, CELAC partners generally prioritize economic benefits such as processing and producing lithium batteries or electric vehicles, rather than simply shipping minerals elsewhere.
Additionally, the EU is actively pursuing trade agreements with Chile, Mexico, and the Mercosur bloc. Before the summit, a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation will be signed between the EU and Argentina. Moreover, the EU may offer details on plans to invest a substantial amount of 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) in CELAC infrastructure projects.
Overall, the summit presents an opportunity for discussions and potential advancements in trade and cooperation between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries. It serves as a platform to address pressing issues and forge stronger economic partnerships, with the ultimate goal of promoting growth and development in both regions.
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